We’ve all heard stories about babies being born in a taxi with the gracious help of policemen, firefighters, and other personnel, but they have nothing on the story little Bella Sophia Bonanni will be telling some day.

January 2014 will long be remembered as the time of a record-breaking winter storm that brought a very large segment of the nation to a stand-still. The storm was so fierce it even got a name, Winter Storm Janus.

Shirley and Fabian Bonanni of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were expecting a baby so it came as no surprise to them when labor contractions woke them in the wee hours of the morning. With about 10 minutes between each one, Shirley thought there was time enough to get to the hospital without much haste. She’d done this before; this was to be the second child for the Bonannis, who already have a toddler in the family.

Shirley showered and gathered up the things she’d want at the hospital and the couple set out. What they didn’t realize was how severely strong this storm was, strong enough to change entirely their plans for the birth of their new baby.

The Bonannis’ car was parked at the bottom of a steep hill made so slick by ice and snow that there was no way to drive it uphill to collect Shirley at her front door. They had to get downhill to the car while the storm continued to rage. Fabian helped his wife onto their toddler’s plastic sled and off they went.

They didn’t make it. Shirley’s contractions were coming much faster now. Her cries of pain were so intense they woke sleeping neighbors who called 911 and came to the couple’s aid. One neighbor, George Leader, stayed at the couple’s side to relay instructions on childbirth as he was getting them over the phone.

It was freezing at 6:00 AM, when Shirley gave birth to Baby Bella with the assistance of her husband and her good neighbor on the phone. Bella was born on a plastic sled on the side of the road outside during one of the worst winter storms in American history.

The neighbor’s help didn’t stop once the baby was born. While Fabian wrapped his newborn daughter in blankets and took her home, Leader and Shirley’s parents assisted her. They pulled Shirley, still on the sled, back up the hill to the warmth and safety of her home.

Thanks to calls from helpful neighbors, an ambulance was already on the way but could not navigate treacherous streets in time for the delivery. They arrived soon after the family made it home to shelter and sped them to the hospital where mother and child were said to be safe, warm, and doing just fine.

Source: Zerkel, Eric. “Philadelphia Baby Born on Sled After Winter Storm Janus.” The Weather Channel. The Weather Channel, LLC. Jan 24, 2014. Web. Jan 30, 2014.